Second stocking up trip: this is what $350 looks like

Well, I’m back from the city, with a mostly successful shopping trip to the Wholesale Club. I didn’t quite get everything on my list, while also getting a few things not specifically on my list, but that I either keep an eye our for, or get only while at this store.

The grand total, after taxes, was $350.17

I like that their receipt organizes everything by category, rather than the order they were scanned in.

Under “grocery”, I got a package of heavy duty scouring pads, having taken out the last one from our supply recently. We were also low on parchment paper, so I got a cheap no-name brand, as well as a package of paper towels.

There’s a 10kg (22lb) bag of white sugar. Icing sugar was on my list, too, but I didn’t find any. A bottle of lemon juice, a big thing of iced tea mix, and giant bags of Fusillli and Farfalle pasta.

In dairy, there’s a tub of sour cream, a big block of Old cheddar (more expensive than Costco, except they didn’t have any in that size at all), and a couple of pounds of butter. The no-name butter was $5.99 each, but the whipping cream was $4.89 each, so I got two of those and will be making more butter myself.

I got 4 big bags of pierogi in two flavours; the no-name brand, at $4.99 each, was about a third the price of the name brand variety in comparable sized bags. There’s also a gallon of vanilla ice cream my husband requested.

There’s a 2L of soy milk for my daughters in the “natural foods” category. They are lactose intolerant, and the soy milk is cheaper than lactose free real milk. That’s the main reason I want a milk goat!

Under “produce” there’s a bag of “imperfect” avocados, and Medjool dates.

Those dates are quite addictive! Excellent stuffed with a bit of goat cheese. Better still stuffed with a mixture of goat cheese and crushed nuts, rolled in salt and pan fried with honey – something we did when the girls were younger and we were recreating recipes from ancient Rome. Sublime!

Under meats, I splurged a bit. Oddly, the $10 bag of frozen vegetable samosas is listed under meats! I got a giant package of wieners (and buns) so we can have a cookout if we want. We still have meat in the freezer, but I wasn’t going to say no to the excellent price for pork butt. There was a lot of meat for just under $30. Unlike their chickens, where a three pack of small birds was almost $40! As a treat, I got one of their $20 boxes of chicken balls. I also got their $10 pack of sole filets for the girls, who like their seafood.

Under deli, we got a giant beating stick of summer sausage, Lyoner sausage and salami. I was planning to only get the big summer sausage, but these are handy for those days when we don’t have the energy for cooking. Plus, I want to experiment with something.

Last of all, I got a jug of windshield washer fluid, rated to -45C/-49F. With how warm it was today, I quickly ran out and pretty much emptied the jug I had in the van when I refilled the reservoir. I always try to keep a full jug in our van, and my mother’s car, just for times like this!

One thing I did not find was the bucket of Ghee. When I didn’t find it at Costco, I was sure I had to have found it here. I ended up asking an employee and as far as he knew, they never carried the bucket size! All they had were smallish tins. Maybe Costco was just out of stock? I do hope they get more, because buying it in that bucket size is SO much more affordable.

I went through the restaurant section and there were a few things that I’m eye balling for the future; especially for when we’re cooking outdoors more often. I also went through the pet food section, and there were none of the large bags of dry kibble I try to get. Not that I would have bought any. There’s no savings on kibble by buying it there.

I did decide to make one other stop before doing this shopping, checking out a liquidation store. We don’t go there often, but there’s something my daughter is wanting that I thought they might have. They didn’t, but while there, I did get a dozen packages of vegetable bouillon cubes at 4 for $1, or 29 cents each, restocking our supply from the last time I got a whole bunch of these! There wasn’t much else; mostly cheap Valentine’s day treats, though I did get a chisel tip paint brush that was on the list my daughters have for painting the basement. A long handled one would have been preferable, but no place I’ve looked seems to have them. Which is fine. We can always extend the handle ourselves, if necessary.

My younger daughter helped me bring everything to the house, and the poor thing really struggled with the heavier bags. She’s been working on the basement all day, so her back is killing her. I’ll have to make a point of hobbling down the stairs and see how it’s going, later on.

Speaking of hobbling…

The new medications my doctor is trying me on for my arthritis are… a thing. There is definite improvement in joint pain and reduced inflammation. The problem is, I seem to have just traded one pain for another. These medications are prescribed in tandem, with one of them pretty much there to protect the stomach from the other.

It’s not working very well.

Usually, it’s just a feeling of bloating, without the gas, but while driving and walking around today, it got really bad. At one point, as I was walking into the Wholesale Club, I suddenly wondered if I was going to throw up! I wasn’t feeling nauseous. It felt more like I really needed to burp, but was afraid to because it might be accompanied by something – and my stomach would have been pretty empty by then! According to the papers that came with the meds, side effects should subside within 2 weeks, and I only got 2 weeks of the medication. If this keeps up, I’m not going to request the prescription be continued, but will drop them completely. I’d rather deal with the pain from the OA than this abdominal pain and… insecurity, shall we say!

More motivation for me to try going carnivore, but if I do that now, we’ll go through the meat in our freezer way too quickly, and that’s supposed to be for all four of us, not just me! Very frustrating. But I can still work towards it.

Juggling what we can afford for the household can really conflict with what we’d like to do! Meanwhile, with the prices continuing to increase, we’re going to have to rely on food we grow ourselves a lot more, and that’s going to require more preparation if we’re going to start raising animals, too.

Ah, well. Self sufficiency was our goal from the beginning. I just hoped we’d have more time and resources to accomplish it!

The Re-Farmer

First stock-up shop: this is $737

I am so glad to be home.

The drive in wasn’t too bad. There was lots of blowing snow. It was bright and sunny, with hardly any clouds but at times, I could barely see the road. The snow being blown around was what fell last night. It wasn’t accumulating, though, and the road under it was dry. Road crews were out and keeping on top of clearing the shoulders, before things could drift over the roads. On the way out, I was driving with the wind mostly behind me, so that wasn’t too bad, either. On the trip home, however, with a loaded van, it was a bit of a fight the whole way. Not too, too bad, at least, but I could feel the van was having a hard time with both the weight in the back – all those cat food bags! – and being buffeted by the wind.

Not only has it been a long time since we’ve done a Costco trip, it’s been a long time since I’ve been there on a Friday! Gosh, it was busy. Things went smoothly, though, even when it was time to wait in line to pay. I wasn’t in any hurry, so that helped.

This is what $737.19 – after taxes – at Costco looks like.

Almost.

I went to the post office before heading to the city. We have an executive membership, and today I got our renewal and rebate. The renewal was $120, and the rebate was $118.36, so a tiny bit extra went to the renewal.

There are only two “extras” on here, and quite a few things we didn’t get. One extra is the LED light. We now have three of those, for our plant starts. It was $10 off the regular price of $45. I think I’ll pick up one more next month, and then I think we should be good. The other extra, which you can’t even see in the photo, is a flat of Coke Zero, which was about $15. (I’m rounding the actual prices, since I don’t feel like typing .99 over and over)

When I started loading the flat cart, I reached about $200, just in cat food! (Thank you, M, for your donation!) I got two 9kg bags of the Kirkland brand, at $29 each, plus four 11.6kg bags of Whiskas at $35 each. It’s a better price per kg with the larger bag, but the cats do get tired of eating the same thing all the time after a while, so I like to change it up when I can. There is also a case of 48 cans of wet cat food, which now costs $39. The toilet paper now costs $23. The Kleenex was a good price, at $21 for a dozen big boxes.

Then it was time for some actual people food!

My daughter requested coconut oil, which was about $19. For cooking oil, I got Avocado oil this time – something we haven’t bought in a long time and were really missing – at almost $18 for a nice big bottle. Local stores have small bottles that cost even more, so it’s work waiting to get it at Costco.

There’s a couple of large tubs of mayonnaise, which now costs $11 each. A 2pk of butter chicken sauce was $10. There’s a large container of whole peppercorns, at $7, a 2pk of goat cheese for $11, a wheel of brie for another $11, and a 3 pk of cream cheese for under $10. I got only five pounds of butter, which is now $5.29 – higher than it was, but still much, much lower than at regular grocery stores.

They had the big blocks of marble cheese at $30, but nothing else in that size, so I got smaller blocks of old cheddar and mozza, at $15 each. A 10 lb bag of yellow potatoes was $7, a 2pk of rye bread was $6, two packs of wraps (36 count) for $10 each, and jumbo hot dog buns at under $6, to go with a 3pk of hot dog wieners at $21. For other meat, I only got a pork blade, at almost $29, and a pork loin, at $30.

There’s a 4L of milk at $5.69 – no savings there, since the prices for milk are government controlled. Two 1L of whipping cream, though, was only $4.79 each – quite a bit cheaper than elsewhere. A 5 count of avocados cost $8. The price of peanut butter hasn’t changed much, at under $9. A jar of raspberry jam cost only slightly less than the peanut butter – but was quite a bit cheaper than the strawberry jam I usually get! Usually, it’s the raspberry jam that is much more expensive.

Things on my list that I did NOT get included garbage bags (I was running out of space), ghee (I never found it), sour cream (I forgot), chocolate chips (running out of space), lemon juice (I forgot), pasta (the only ones I found were really expensive), pain killers, vitamins, shampoo and conditioner (I no longer had the energy to go through the pharmacy section) and sugar (I remembered, but didn’t want to add another big heavy bag to the cart).

One thing I almost got, but ended up putting back, was a package of really heavy duty, interlocking squares of floor mats. I want them for the kitchen. We had some regular ones that get sold as yoga mats, but the cats just tore them apart. The kitchen floor is in really bad shape, and it’d be nice to have something that not only covers it, but makes it easier on the back while standing there, doing dishes or whatever! In the end, I just couldn’t justify the cost, even though it was a really good price.

Later in the month, we should hit the Wholesale Club, where we can get pasta in giant bags, and I know I can find the big buckets of ghee. We still have some, but it’s getting low. There are other places we need to go to to pick up certain things, so we will have at least one more trip to the city after main pay comes in. Probably two, before we’re set for the month. Which reminds me: also in the mail, my husband got letters from Sun Life. One to confirm that yes, he’s still disabled, and the other to confirm, yes, he’s still getting disability payments! So we’re confirmed to have money for another year.

Thank God for private health insurance!!!

I also plan to pick up more meat and eggs from local homesteaders. We’ll have to see what the budget is like after the vet visit on Sunday, before we can decide how much we’re getting. Yes, we still have plenty of meat in the freezer, but if I’m going to be going more carnivore, I want to make sure to have more, so we don’t run out too quickly.

Tomorrow, I’m going into town to pick up my new prescriptions, including the new pain killer that I’ll be trying for 2 weeks, to see how it does for my OA. That will be a good time to swing by the local grocery store and refill a couple of water jugs, and one of my daughters will be coming along to do some of their own shopping, as well. I was hoping to pick up some seafood for them (my husband and I are not big on seafood at all), but it was so bloody expensive!!

You know, I think I saw some fishing rods in the pump shack, and there’s a net in the garage. The girls are interested in taking up fishing. It would be handy if these were in useable shape!

We shall see. 😁

So that’s one big, stocking up shopping trip done!

The Re-Farmer

Those eyes! And this is $223

I counted 22 cats outside while doing their kibble and warm water this morning!

One of them was Pinky, the only kitten with orange we had last year. I was even able to pet him a bit, though he’s not quite comfortable with attention. I heard from the Cat Lady this morning; it’s been a while, due to her health issues, so it was quite a relief to hear from her. She had someone who was looking for an orange kitten and asked if we had any, so I tried to get pictures of him. This person might be okay with a young cat, instead, so I also sent a picture of Turmeric.

This, however, is not Pinky, nor Turmeric. It’s one of the cats we can’t come near, and I don’t usually see him sitting still when I’m around. I just had to zoom in to take some pictures, because this is the first time I’ve had a really good look at his eyes!

They are so very pale! Most of our cats have eyes that are gold or green, but this one’s eyes look almost like a pale blue! The photo doesn’t do justice to how light they really are. In the shade of the water shelter, they seemed to glow white. Just gorgeous!

After finished my morning rounds, I had to make a trip to a Walmart to get more kibble. The outside cats may be eating less again, but we still weren’t going to have enough to last until our next stock up trip to the city. I just went to the smaller, closer Walmart, and used the trip to pick up a few other things – including some extras for the freezer, and even some treats.

This is $223.46 – after taxes.

Usually, I get the biggest bags of kibble they have – and this time, there was plenty of cat food in stock – but I got the sense the cats were getting tired of it. There’s just one brand and one flavour in the 10kg size. So this time, I got two 9kg bags for the outside cats, and a 7.5kg bag for the inside cats, all in different flavours. The larger bags were just under $30 each, and the smaller one just under $22. Once I got home, I topped up their food, and they were eating quite enthusiastically, so I think I was right about the “getting tired of it” part.

They also had stove pellets in stock this time, so I got a bag for the cat litters. Just one, and it saved me from having to go to another store. When it’s time to stock up, I’ll get several bags from Canadian Tire. This bag cost almost $8. Canadian Tire has softwood pellets for just under $7.

Eggs were on my list, and the 18 count eggs were a good price, at $5.58 each, so I got two. Bread was on my list as well, so I got a couple loaves of rye bread ($3.47 each) and a couple packages of wraps ($6.27 each), which are bread products we don’t make ourselves. I also got a larger Walmart brand of hot dog wieners at $5, so there’s a couple of bags of hot dog buns ($3.67 each) to go with those. The weather has been so mild, we’ve been talking about getting the fire pit going, so these are a treat for the girls to cook over the fire. Also on my list was cheese, so I got Havarti, old and marble from the 2 for $10 selection. I had butter on my list, too, but I got just one pound. The cheap, no-name butter was $5.97. Much better than the local prices, but still getting quite high for no-name!

Not on my list, but at an excellent price, were a couple of chickens for the freezer. They were selling at under $2 a pound. I got the biggest ones I could find, but they’re still much smaller than the ones we got from my homesteading neighbour. At less than $10 a chicken, I won’t say no to something I can add to our supply if I can get it! I also got some sour cream, just because we were out, but I also got some carrots that were a very good price. We do still have the Black Nebula carrots, but we’re just not using them. They’ve got so many root hairs on them, and they’re so small, they’re not worth cleaning. Plus, the colour makes anything cooked with them look pretty unappetizing, to be honest. They’d be good for fresh eating or for juicing, if we could get all those root hairs off, but I think the last of them are just going to get composted.

Too bad we don’t have chickens yet. They’d love them!

Oh, and I got another bag of seed starting mix. We’ve got to get those onion seeds started! I was gong to do that this afternoon, until I realized I couldn’t put off getting more kibble. One last thing I got that wasn’t on the list was a deodorant for the girls to try. The price was really, really good, but it’s not a brand they usually use (my husband and I use antiperspirant), and I wasn’t sure they’d like the scent. I like to pick up stuff like deodorant, tooth paste and other toiletries when the price is good, to stock up our supplies, just in case. With this year’s mild winter, we’ve been able to get out as needed for a change, but last year, with the vehicles freezing and/or not being able to get through the roads or driveway at times, we definitely started to run low on such things before we could finally go shopping!

I also got some treats for my husband and I. The Valentine’s Day stuff is out, so I got some Cinnamon Hearts for my husband. One of the side effects of all the drugs he’s on is that he’s lost much of his sense of taste, so something that’s spicy hot is appreciated. He can actually taste it! It’s something handy to have, if his blood sugars suddenly drop again. He’s definitely had some scary moments. Which isn’t supposed to happen, since he’s on a slow release insulin that is taken only once a week, but it does. 🙁 For myself, I got some dark chocolate mint wafers. I also got a vitamin water drink for the road, and a bag of chocolate almonds to keep in the van. I like to have some sort of munchy in the van for those days when we’re running around, but aren’t able to stop and eat. Usually, it’s a big container of mixed nuts from Costco, but we aren’t going to make it to Costco until the end of the month for our regular stock up trip. Not making it to Costco for our January stock up has left us making way too many smaller trips.

With what I got today, we should not be running out of anything until the end of the month, when we do our February stock up trip. This time, Costco is going to be done first! It seems that if we try to split our shopping days and do the other locations first, we end up not making it to Costco at all, but doing more smaller trips instead – and that takes more out of the budget, for less supplies.

December and January are always odd months for trips, but this winter, even more so than usual. Extra trips involving cat stuff certainly changed things, too!

Hopefully, things will start settling down again, and we can be our usual hermit selves. 😉😄

The Re-Farmer

For the freezer

I just got back from picking up a whole bunch of meat for the freezer, from one of our homesteading neighbours!

The box on the right is almost all pork, with four HUGE chickens buried under them, for $200. The box on the left is leaf lard, plus some soup bones, that they added in for free.

The fat has been set aside in a giant bowl to thaw out. I had to cut some of it up to fit it in so I could cover it and protect it from the cats. Thankfully, even when frozen, fat is pretty easy to cut through. Once it’s thawed a bit more, I’ll cut it into small pieces, and we’ll render it into lard, leaving behind what my mother used to call “skvarki“. I’ve spelled that phonetically, because I have no idea how it was spelled in Polish, and when I try looking up “cracklings”, I get a different word! The cracklings, with a bit of salt, make a great protein snack. Lard is a shelf stable fat. Properly rendered and stored, it can stay at room temperature for months, or as much as a year in the fridge. Even longer, if it’s frozen.

We also will be getting a shed in the spring, that could be used as a chicken coop!

Sadly, our neighbour won’t be our neighbour for much longer. They’ll be putting the property up for sale and escaping Canada, going to where there is no snow, and they can grow food all year long! As we were chatting, I mentioned the shed roof that collapse under the weight of snow almost a year ago, that I was planning to dismantle it to use the wood, and hopefully build a chicken coop.

He pointed to a nearby shed and asked if I wanted it! He needs to get rid of it and, in the spring, he can load it onto a trailer and deliver it to us.

Of course, I said yes!

It will need some work done on it. It has a flat roof, so it started leaking. We’ll need to make an angled roof for it. The leaking rotted away the floor boards, but the joists are still good, so we could easily put a new floor down. It’s roughly 8′ x 10′ in size, so we’ll need to prepare a base for it that’s larger than that. It’s got some pretty large windows on the sides, and there is a screened window by the door.

The question is, where do we want to set it up? We could use it as a chicken coop, but I do still want to have a mobile coop. Or we can set it up nearer the house and use it as a much needed garden shed.

We’ve got a few months to decide on that.

Meanwhile, we now have a greater variety of meats stocked up in the freezer that should last us a good long time!

There is something very comforting about that.

The Re-Farmer

A bunch of updates, and this is $261

This morning, we had a combination of light snow and more fog.

Only now, in the late afternoon, do we finally have sunshine.

We still haven’t received a call about financing the replacement vehicle. By now, I figure there just isn’t a lender that will accept our application. I’m sure our credit score is pretty low. After my husband went on disability and we lost 40% of our income, we had to go under a consumer proposal to finish paying things off. That was ended a few years ago, but we have no credit cards, no mortgage and no other loans. Basically, no debt. Which means, nothing to improve our credit score. Rather ironic, isn’t it? We have no debt, therefore we have a bad credit score.

With waiting on the financing, I’ve been delaying our stock up shopping trip. We’re still good for most things, but I didn’t want it wait too much longer, or we’d start running out of things. Mostly cat food, since that’s the one thing we haven’t been able to stock up on. Since the van is still prepped for trade in, including the summer tires in the back, that meant using my mother’s car. Which can’t hold as much, even with the back seats folded down, but it’ll do.

Once on the road, the further south I went, the thicker the fog and blowing snow. I was intending to go to Costco, but by the time I reached the town my mother lives in, I changed my mind. The highways were fine – and the surrounding fields and trees were stunningly beautiful! However, I knew the city would be a mess. So I decided to go to the nearer city and hit a Walmart. It meant a smaller shop, but I could at least get the most necessary items.

I almost didn’t!

This is $261.11, after taxes.

Lately, I’ve been buying 10kg bags of kibble (about 22 pounds). The shelves with large bags of kibble were almost empty, and I had to get the 7kg (about 15 pounds) of economy kibble, instead. Four of those for the outside cats, and more wet cat food for the inside cats, and we were already at about $110.

I got a container of black peppercorns, but they didn’t have the ground thyme and sage I was looking for, in stock. I had intended to buy more protein items, but ended up with just three different cheeses (of the 2 for $10 varieties), some pork chops, and some seafood for the girls. They also requested hot dog fixings, so I got a bulk package of wieners and some hot dog buns, as well as wraps. I got a box of granola bars and Kraft Dinner for them, too. That meant more milk for making the KD. The olives are more of a snack food for my husband, though I like to nibble on a bowl of olives, too. One of my favourite treats used to be a certain brand of sundried black olives, packed in salt, but I haven’t seen them since we moved, so… green olives it is. 😄 There’s paper towels and facial tissues, coffee creamer for the girls (my husband and I don’t drink coffee), and two boxes of Earl Grey Double Bergamot tea. It’s often out of stock, so I was happy to see it. Especially since the tea shelves were pretty empty, too!

Aside from getting this as Walmart, I was also able to swing by a Staples and get some ink for my printer. For some reason, I’m out of cyan again – why that one colour keeps running out, I have no idea. We don’t use our printer much. If the printer is out one colour, it won’t let me print anymore. Not even black and white. Frustrating! While there, I picked up some tax preparation software. NOT TurboTax this year. Hopefully, something that isn’t so frikkin’ counter intuitive. So that was another $55 and change in total gone.

The price of printer ink went up since I last bought some. The economy kibble prices also finally went up. I got excellent prices on some other things, though, so that sort of made up for it.

The unfortunate thing is, I’m going to need to do this again, soon. That kibble won’t last until the end of the month, though as things warm up, the outside cats aren’t needing to eat as much. We also need to get more stove pellets for the litter pretty soon, and that’s a Canadian Tire trip. If I’m getting both, I’d be taking the tires out of the back of the van and using that, rather than my mother’s car.

Another ironic thing, considering our major gardening plans. What I’d wanted to do, and will have to do when I finally make it to Costco, is stock up on quality proteins. We still have lots of our quarter beef in the freezer, but I don’t want to go through that too quickly.

I’ve mentioned more than a few times, that all four of us have various health issues. After much research and assessing of things, my husband and I want to try going carnivore. We’re not going to go cold turkey on it, but the more I look into it, the more convinced I am that our entire family would see significant improvement in all our different issues, by cutting out virtually all carbs. For my daughters, I especially think they need to cut out almost all vegetables. All plants have pesticides in them. It’s their natural defence, since they can’t up and run away from the animals and insects that want to eat them. Some people are sensitive to them than others. Ruminants are the best meat for a low carb diet, as they have digestive systems that ferment plant material, thereby removing those toxins and converting material indigestible to humans into high quality meat. Personally I don’t think I am sensitive to these plant toxins, and could probably do well on keto, but it seems the rest of my family is. My daughters, unfortunately, have been cutting meat out of their diet more and more – probably because of the cost, though one of them says certain meats make her feel sick. That this includes some cuts but not others, of the same kind of meat, leaves me thinking there is something else going on. Anyhow, what my husband in particular really should be doing is going completely carnivore, then slowly adding things back, as a sort of elimination diet. It won’t heal his back (which includes birth defects that were not discovered until after his back injury), but it should at least get him off a lot of medications. I’m hoping that, once they see positive results in us, my daughters will be more willing to go it, too.

Yet another reason why I want to include animals as part of our self sufficiency goals, and part of that includes growing their feed, because the cost of feed is getting pretty steep. If that means growing a garden full of animal food, then eating the animals, I’m good with that. But we have lots of preparation before we can start doing that. First, a chicken coop. Possibly some meat rabbits next. Then set up for a couple of pigs. For pigs, we would get piglets in the spring to be butchered in the fall, so we won’t be overwintering pigs, like we would with chickens. Pigs are social animals, so we’d get at least two. We might get milk goats at some point, but will likely keep buying our beef from the same ranch we’re getting it from now. I just don’t see us reaching a point where we will have our own cows – though we might get alpacas at some point. My daughter wants fibre animals.

Okay, so I’m getting off track here. 😄

Back to other updates.

I’ve been messaging with the Cat Lady. Her surgery was cancelled at the last minute. The new specialist wants to put her on medications, first. It’s so frustrating, but he’s convinced that if they do the surgery now, she’ll end up back within the year. She’s planning on going to the US for a second opinion and possible surgery in the spring. So frustrating! Months of tests and preparation, actually in the hospital and ready to go under the knife, only to have the whole thing turned upside down by someone she’d only seen for 15 minutes. The other specialist thought surgery was the best option. The health care system in this province really sucks. It’s not even the worst province in Canada for that, either, which is downright scary.

All that going on, and she’s worried about how Tissue is doing, too! I assured her that Tissue is doing fine. As I write this, she is burrowed under my sheets, sleeping. A few more days on soft food and medication, and we should be able to let her out of the isolation room again. 😄

On top of all that, I got a call from my mother. Her timing was perfect, as I’d just gotten home. The girls were still putting away the groceries!

I’m heading out again, to help her do her own grocery shopping trip. Then I have to head to another town to pick up a Purolator package. I thought they now had a depot in the general store our post office is in – I’ve picked up a Purolator package there not long ago! But apparently, no. Weird.

I’d love to finally get a call back from the finance lady. Even if it’s just to tell me that no, we can’t get financing. That’s better than hanging in limbo like this! But she’s working really hard to get us that vehicle! 😁 I do appreciate her efforts. But gosh, it’s taking a really long time!

The Re-Farmer

A smaller shop: this is what $254 looks like

Okay, so I didn’t make it to Costco, and at this point, I probably won’t make it there at all this month. With the roofers showing up today, I was able to get almost everything on my list, at the Walmart where I’d met the cat lady to take our cats to be spayed.

When I got home, along with all the cats running around on the tarp the roofers laid out to catch what they were tossing off the roof, I found these guys in the sun room.

Are they adorable, or what?

I think these white and greys are all from one litter, but at this point, we just can’t tell for sure anymore.

Judgement is looking somewhat less judgemental than usual!

Alas, I had to interrupt their snuggle time on the swing bench to bring in the shopping.

This is what $254.53 (after taxes) looks like.

There was one thing on my list I did not get. Ghee. The largest jar they had was almost $30. For about $10 more, I can get a big bucket – about 5 times as much – at Costco. We still have some left, so I skipped it entirely. At Costco, I would normally get 10 pounds of butter, but we still have some in the freezer, so I only got 2 pounds. The Costco price is better, and so is the quality of their house brand butter.

One thing I got that I could not have picked up at Costco was the distilled water for my husband’s CPAP humidifier. I also got a small ceramic heater for the upstairs. We got two of them for the girls last year, but one of them recently stopped working. The fan still works, but no heat, so it was just blowing around cold air. It gets so bitterly cold on the second floor, they really need a heater for each room. Hopefully, once the roof is done, it will be a bit less chilly up there!

Other items include the biggest package of toilet paper I could get, that also happened to be on sale. We got more laundry detergent, which was surprisingly cheap, as was the dish detergent. I got a larger type of hot dog wiener, as requested by one of my daughters, but forgot to get hot dog buns. We prefer the Costco ones, but these will do for now. I did remember to get wraps, though. Again, we prefer the Costco ones, but we will make do. 😉 They only had small containers of cocoa, so I got two, along with some LED light bulbs for the bathroom light fixture. One bulb is burnt out, but I want to replace all four, as I can’t find the same type of bulb anymore.

At Costco, I’d be getting a giant block of cheese, but here, I got 4 different types of cheese in the largest sizes they do have. They had large jars of green olives at a good price, so I grabbed one of those, along with a case of Kraft Dinner for the girls. The Pizza Pops are a much better price than elsewhere, so I grabbed a big box for the freezer. They make for a quick meal, and one my husband can make without needing help. I found a new seasonal flavour of coffee creamer – waffle! – so I got that as a surprise for my coffee drinking daughters. I also grabbed three flavours of popcorn seasoning for the pantry, and a box of size medium slide lock freezer bags – we’ve only got huge ones left right now. At Costco, I would have picked up a 60 pack of eggs, but their biggest size is 18 eggs.

I think that’s all of it. I keep looking at the receipt, trying to see what I’ve missed for this to be over $250! Even the ceramic heater was pretty cheap.

This is such a small shopping trip for us – and it feels weird not to have any cat food in there at all!

The Re-Farmer

This is what $430 looks like – and they’re going to do it!

I was going to do a Costco trip today, however by the time I reached my mother’s town, I changed my mind. Road conditions and blowing snow was getting worse the further south I went, so I just got some gas, then went to a nearer Walmart. Costco will wait for another time.

Which turned out to be a good thing, because the trip was shorter. I was just leaving the store when I got a message from my brother. The roofers had called! They wanted to come by today and at least drop off the materials for the roof, if not get started on the work. They’re going to get it done before winter is officially here! They have not yet arrived, but I am glad to be home to be able to keep an eye on the security camera live feed. The gate has been left open, and we will be leaving it open, at least during the day, until the job is done. Everything is weather dependant right now.

Also, WordPress just let me know that this blog has hit 100,000 views! Thank you to everyone who has visited with us, and especially those who like what they see enough to follow and comment, too. It is really encouraging, and greatly appreciated.

So that’s our amazing news!

Meanwhile, I ended up picking up more than I originally intended today. This is what $428.74 (after taxes) looks like.

I got another four 10kg bags of kibble. Normally, with the four I already got, I would say we are stocked up for the month, but we have more yard cats this year, and they always need more food in the winter. The cat lady was going to see about getting some donated cat food for us, so that will be a help, but I’m not going to count on it.

If I’d made it to Costco, I would have picked up a case of 48 cans of wet cat food. Instead, I got two cased of 32 cans. That makes three cases of that size for the month. I’d love to be able to get some wet cat food to the bitty babies, but that would be difficult to manage with so other cats around, and we just can’t afford to buy enough wet cat food for them all.

All Purpose flour was on sale – $8.97 instead of $11.97 – so I picked up an extra bag. Stove Top Stuffing was also on sale for 87 cents, so I got a couple more boxes for our pantry. With all of us being sick for the last while and not having the energy to cook much, we’ve been going into our quick eats supply, so I got more of the ramen type noodles and canned tomato soup to replenish the pantry.

Other items for the pantry include toilet paper, facial tissues, feminine hygiene products, and a couple of tubes of toothpaste.

There was a really good sale on whole chickens, so I got a couple of those, along with eggs, rye bread, a bag of clementines and a new flavour of coffee creamer for the girls. I picked up a 12 pack of cranberry ginger ale as a treat, along with a big box of granola bars.

Some unplanned items included a shower curtain and shower curtain liner. The cats have been destroying them, so I sprung for higher quality ones, in hopes they will last longer. Leyendecker in particular keeps trying to eat the fabric curtain hanging on the outside, so I got a plastic one, this time.

I also got a set of 3 wire cubes. I am thinking that, with ones we already have that we used to display inventory, back when we were doing the art markets before our move, I can use them to make a kennel if we can manage to bring Broccoli and her babies inside.

One last extra was a box of religious Christmas cards for my mother. The ones I ordered online for her won’t arrive for some time, and she wants to send cards overseas, so I got these for her. Then, when I was paying for it all, I added a donation to the children’s hospital, too.

I swung by my mother’s place to drop the cards off on the way home. While there, I told her the news about the roofers. She was not happy, because if they put the shingles on now, they will all crack in the cold. Clearly, they have no idea what they’re doing. She then demanded (again) that we have a warranty, and that it’s in writing. I keep trying to explain, it’s all going to be there in the contract, spelled out in detail, but she refuses to believe me. I get the impression she thinks there is not actual contract; that it’s all being done with no record. Which might be what she’s used to, considering who they’ve hired in the past, but my brother and I would not hear of calling a local guy that has a reputation for being very drunk while he works.

Since I’d finished my shopping before I got the message from my brother, I made another stop at the grocery store near my mother’s place to get a few things I’d intended to do on another trip. When the roofers are here, I’d like to have hot food and coffee going for them; it’s not like there’s anyplace nearby they can pop over for their breaks and lunches. So I got what I needed to make a chili for one day, and a stew for another and, when I got home, I brought the meat for them out of the freezer to start thawing.

So that shopping, rounded up to donate to a local food bank, was another $40.

Finally, I stopped at the post office on the way home, as my husband was hoping a package for him had arrived early, but it did not. Since I was there anyhow, I picked up some Christmas treats out of the booze corner; some alcoholic eggnog, and a sampler of tiny, uniquely flavoured drinks, which added another $47 and change to the day’s total.

I’m still going to need to do a Costco trip, plus a trip to Canadian Tire to get the stove pellets we use for litter, but nothing is urgently needed.

It’s past 4pm as I finish writing this, and the roofers have not yet come by with the supplies. I’m not really expecting them to make it tonight, but who knows! Tomorrow is supposed to reach a high of -15C/5F, and be mostly cloudy. The day after (Sunday) is supposed to reach a high of -5C/23F with “snow showers”, then start getting quite a bit colder again.

This is not going to be a pleasant job for them to do!

The Re-Farmer

First monthly stock up shop: this is what $393 looks like

More specifically, $392,96, after taxes.

I was feeling well enough to finally get our first stock up shop for December done. I am no longer sick, but still feeling pretty weak. Honestly, I would have stayed home if I could. I didn’t want to be driving in that wind, when the roads are in that “is that melted snow, or is that ice?” stage! I had intended to take my mother’s car, because it needs an oil change, but our van has winter tires, so I took that, instead.

Even so, I wasn’t sure how far I was up to driving. I reserved judgement until I reached my mother’s town. She has a cold now, too, and was complaining about coughing badly at night, so I went to her pharmacy and got some cold medication for her, then swung by to drop it off. By then, I knew I was up to making the rest of the drive.

My mother looked quite miserable, and had had another rough night of coughing. One of the medications I got for her was some NeoCitrin so, before I left, I got the kettle going, cut apart all the pairs of packets for her, because I knew it would be harder for her to do herself, then got a cup ready for her before I left. We also went over the directions for how much to take of the cough syrup I got for her, which would be best for her to take before bed, since that’s when her coughing is the worst. When she found out where I was going, she asked me to pick up some milk for her to drop off on the way home.

Once I was done at her place, I got some fuel (local prices are now 158.9/L) then headed to a small Walmart at the nearer city.

There were two things I especially needed to get, and those made up most of the bill. I got four 10kg bags of kibble for the outside cats, at just under $26 each (a really good price for our area) and a case of 32 cans of wet cat food for the inside cats (we still have dry kibble for them). The canned cat food is now $28.47, which is about $10 more expensive than just a few months ago. Altogether, this is about half the cat food we’ll need for the month. When we do our Costco trip, I’ll get more kibble (how many depends on what size bags they have available at the time), and a 48 pack of canned cat food.

Then I got some cold medication. There are shortages of cold medications across Canada right now, and there was less of it at the Walmart than in my mother’s pharmacy! Still, I was able to get both day and night time NeoCitrin (at my mother’s pharmacy, they only had the day type), and a big bottle of liquid cough medicine. I also picked up some vitamins my doctor has me on, and at checkout, I grabbed 4 different flavours of cough candy.

Since our quarter beef should be ready for pick up this week, the only meat I got was some chicken breasts and, because none of us are up to cooking very much right now, a big box of Pizza Pops. There’s some Havarti, mozzarella and marble cheese in there, coffee for my daughters, some clementines, a couple of loaves of rye bread, a 4L of milk for us and a 2L milk for my mother. I also remembered to grab some popcorn seasonings, in three flavours. Oh, and a box of Vanilla Rooibos tea.

I also picked up a couple of t-shirts for my husband. The cats climb him a lot, and all his t-shirts are getting filled with holes from their claws! I went looking in the craft section for little things I could use with the Christmas ornaments I’m making this year, but there was absolutely no Christmas themed or coloured crafts items available. None. It’s like Christmas doesn’t exist in the Walmart craft department. It’s been like that for a few years now, I’ve noticed. I used to work in a craft store. Christmas craft materials started showing up in July, at the latest, because of the time it takes to make things in time for Christmas. I did find some replacement blades for my Xacto knife, though. I have some, but just can’t find them right now. Then, while waiting in line, I went ahead and bought some caramel filled chocolates, as a van snack.

My husband had suggested I pick up some McRaunchies burgers as a treat for the sickies, so after I finished paying for my stuff, I ordered 4 double quarter pounders with cheese and bacon. That came out to almost $44, after taxes! You know it’s bad when McDick’s burgers are $10 each. Ah, well. Beggars can’t be choosers! The girls really appreciated the treat when I got home. Even a barely warm, kinda soggy from being in an insulated bag, treat.

So there we have it. Thirty four items, and almost $400 later!

Of course, I did stop at my mother’s on the way home to deliver her milk. What a difference! That one dose of cold medicine I’d made for her earlier, and she was feeling – and looking! – so much better! She was so very happy at how well it worked, and how quickly. I’m really glad I did that on the way out, rather than getting the medication for her at the same time as ours, as I’d originally intended. She was breathing clearly, feeling stronger, and was in much, much better spirits.

Amazing what a bit of the right medication can do!

The Re-Farmer

Tiny fruit!

Look at the itty bitty fruit I found in the mock orange this morning!

He was not impressed with my shoveling the paths after doing the food and water!

Also, it is confirmed that he’s a he. I was able to pluck him out of the tree and cuddle him for a bit, and finally got a chance to check.

We are all sort of dancing around when we will be bringing him inside. He is so tiny, it’s actually startling to come out with the kibble in the mornings and see him there in the snow, so small he looks like something one of the older kittens coughed up rather than another kitten!

We want to leave him with his mother as long as possible, or at least with whichever of the mamas is nursing him. So far, I’ve only seen Junk Pile nursing him with her own kittens, once – and I haven’t seen her nursing even her own kittens since! So it’s entirely possible that he’s on his own, weaned early, and getting only the food and water we’re providing. However, we can’t be sure of that.

So when do we bring him in? We have one cold day coming up, with a high of -11C/12F, in a couple of days, then it’s going to warm up quite a bit after that. We definitely want to bring him in before the winter temperatures really kick in. So far he doesn’t seem to be having any trouble with the temperatures we have now, and seems quite happy to run around and play in the snow. If I look at the long range forecasts, including those that extent to January, we are looking at a very mild December but, of course, the further ahead the forecast, the less accurate it is, so who knows right now.

Do we assume his mother has weaned him and bring him in now? Or do we give him a couple more weeks, to be sure?

Well, we’ll probably made that decision in the next couple of days, before we get that one day cold snap that’s been forecast.

In other things, my younger daughter and I headed out today. I was originally planning to go to the nearest Walmart, but my daughters had their own shopping list for the international grocery store, so we hit the city, instead, where we could do both very handily. Mostly, I needed to pick up more kibble. The difference in price on that alone makes it worth the cost of gas to go into the city. I was able to get 10kg bags for just over $25 each. Locally, the biggest bags they carry are 7.5kg or 8kg bags, and they cost almost $35 each – if they even have them in stock.

Of course, we picked up a few other things while we were there, then headed to the international grocery store for my daughter’s shopping. They have take out food, too, so we picked up some steamed dumplings in a dim sum combo for the drive home. I was leery of doing that, as the last time I got dim sum there, not only was the service terrible, but the dim sum was way over cooked and tasted horrible. I’m happy to say, I had no problems at all this time. Service was immediate and, oh my goodness, did those dumplings ever hit the spot!

Things like this are the treats we allow ourselves to make up for creeping out of our hermitage, making the drive to the city, and putting up with other humans. 😉

Once at home, I backed into the yard to unload. We used my mother’s car today, and one of the snow piles I made from clearing around the cat shelters was almost too deep for it! 😂 I think maybe tomorrow, I’ll shovel out a lane for driving into the yard and backing up to the house. May as well do that while the snow is light!

Once everything was unloaded, we gave the cats their evening feeding as much to get them away from the car, and out of the sun room, as anything else. After I finished parking the car in the garage, my daughter was still trying to get one last kitten out of the sun room! I never saw the bitty baby while we were doing all this, though. Which may be a good thing. Now that we’re all pretty much in agreement about bringing the bitty in (which will bring the number of indoor cats up to 15), it’s hard not to just up and grab him! But more time with the mamas is better for him right now.

Must.

Resist.

The bitty!

The Re-Farmer

The Costco shop – this is $580

More specifically, $579.06

I forgot to take a picture while it was still on the flat cart. Not visible, because they are on and under the seat that isn’t folded down, is a box with three rotisserie chickens – which are still cheaper than buying a three pack of whole, raw chicken – a case of 48 cans of wet cat food, and a double flat of 60 eggs.

There’s more toilet paper for stocking up, as well as an extra bag of rice. They did not have the larger bags of cat kibble, so I got four 9kg bags of Kirkland brand, which cost $28.99 each.

The two insulated bags are not completely full, but I wanted to distribute the weight between them more evenly. There’s a litre of whipping cream; something we don’t normally buy, but at $4.69, is quite a bit cheaper than elsewhere. It’s the same with the 10 pounds of butter at $4.99 each. Everywhere else, even the no-name or house brands are around $6.50 each. A big block of Old Cheddar now costs $29.99, and that’s cheaper than the few other places that carry that size. I got a pork loin and pork blade, both of which were small enough to cost under $20 each by weight. (I’m so glad we’re getting a quarter beef in December, because beef prices right now are really high.) There’s a pack of Kirkland brand cream cheese which, at $9.49, is much more affordable here.

I got a 6 pk of canned chicken, which was $21.99 – I think it actually stayed the same price as last month. I got a couple of big jars of mayonnaise that was on sale; regular $10.99, which is higher than last time, but the sale price was $8.49. Since my bee keeper cousin lost so many of his bees to our long, late winter, I bought a 3kg bottle of honey, which cost $24.99 I think that’s actually the same as what my cousin charges. I usually try to get his 5kg size, and the last time I got any from him, it was only a 1 kg jar, so I can’t quite remember. I also got more brown sugar for the pantry, as well as chocolate chips, peanut butter and popcorn. The package of AA batteries, which is mostly for the trail cams, now costs $25.99 – plus the eco fee. I don’t get the cheap brands of batteries, because the trail cams suck them dry in no time. If the new, solar powered trail cam handles winter well, I think we’ll get more to replace the old ones. The batteries on that are still 100%, while I’ve had to replace the batteries on the older ones at least twice, each, since we got the new one.

What else is in there? Oh, a case of bar soap, a stock up on feminine hygiene products, and a couple of packages of tortilla wraps. I did not get any other bread product, though I did look for hot dog buns. In fact, I’ve been trying to find hot dog buns since I got the giant package of wieners at the wholesale store. I haven’t found any! We’ll just have to start baking more bread again. We do less of that in the summer, partly because of the heat and partly because there’s just too many things outside that need to get done.

And that’s it.

I didn’t even fill the flat cart for the cost.

*sigh*

Bahahahahaha!!! Oh, this is too funny! While I was writing the above, there was a sudden noise at my window, and all the cats sleeping on my bed jumped. Now, they are all watching with great fascination, as my daughter cleans, then squeegies, my big window from outside, their heads following along in unison.

Anyhow… Where was I?

Oh, yes.

Distracted.

Like these guys.

When I back up to the house to unload the van, that gets the attention of a lot of cats. Princess even jumped into the back of the van while we were hauling things out. The smell of that rotisserie chicken was just too tempting! She never found it, though.

When we were done, there were about 5 or more kittens under the van. Slamming doors and kicking the sides was not enough to chase them away. I even turned the hose on and tried spraying under the van, which worked for some kittens. Other kittens started chasing the water! So my daughter distracted them with a bit of kibble, long enough for me to get the van started and out of the yard. Once it was parked, I topped up the kibble bin, then gave them their full evening feeding, with powdered lysine dusted over the kibble this time.

One thing we have not been doing of late is putting out feed for the birds. Normally, this time of year, we’d be switching to deer feed, but I’m not sure if we’ll be keeping that up. One reason is the racoons keep tearing apart the hanging feeder. We started just leaving seed on the ground, but not all birds like to eat from the ground – and the racoons still eat the feed meant for the birds. So when the black oil seed ran out, I just didn’t get more.

The deer, however, are still checking the feeding station out.

When I got home, drove through the gate and was back in the van after locking it again, I looked up to see a stag in our “parking lot” area near the garage. It had just come through the inner yard, and was standing there, staring at me! I started to drive very slowly, and it made its way into the overgrowth where there had been standing water during this spring’s flooding. The grass there is actually taller than the deer! It didn’t even run off, but just slowly made its way through the fence around the outer yard, and kept on going.

So beautiful.

We might not buy more seed for beside the house, but at some point I want to start getting a round hay bale and leave it out behind the barn for the deer, to draw them away from the house.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

After today’s trip, we should be done with stock up shopping for the month! It is less than we normally would have gotten, but it was what this month’s budget allowed for. We still saved enough by driving to the city to make it worth the cost of gas. Locally, gas prices dropped to 180.9 cents/L, but I filled my tank at Costco at 175.9 cents/L. It’s 3.79L to one US gallon, so that works out to 685.6/US gallon (US$5.03) locally, or 666.6/US gallon (US$4.89) at Costco.

Gas prices are still way too high, but I’ll take any break in price I can get.

And that’s it. Our monthly stock up shopping for November is done.

This turtle is more than ready to climb back into her shell.

The Re-Farmer